12 Days (pt. 3/12)

Cooking in the 1960s @ Computer History Museum


Ian and Lila entered the Computer History Museum cautiously and watched their reflections on the glass surfaces to see if anyone followed them into the building. From what they could see, they were alone.

After paying the admission fees, Lila and Ian meandered their way over to a series of laptops set up in the entrance hall leading to the main exhibit. Volunteers wearing nametags sat beside the computers, available to assist visitors with the Hour of Code event taking place that day.

Lila seated herself in front of one of the computers on display and smiled broadly at the older female volunteer sitting across from her. “Great day to try coding, eh?”

The woman returned her smile. “Would you like to try one of the programs?”

Lila scanned the menu interface on the computer screen. “Maybe Python,” she replied, suggesting one of the many programming languages.

“By the way,” Lila mentioned offhandedly while navigating the program’s software, “a friend of mine was supposed to leave a note for me. Did anyone leave something for Lila?”

The woman’s face wrinkled up and she turned to the elderly man sitting next to her. “Do you have a note for the young lady? Lila, right?” she confirmed, asking Lila once more.

The man looked thoughtful. “I believe so.” Creakily he stood and walked to a small round table that stood apart from the others. Picking up a manila envelope, he walked slowly back to Lila and held out the envelope to her.

Lila smiled her thanks and quickly finished the short programming assignment on the computer. Ian rose from his seat beside her and together they walked toward the first exhibits. As soon as they descended a set of stairs that placed them out of view of the hall tables, Lila tore into the envelope. On it was written:


Lila looked puzzled. “Kitchen computers?” She turned in a slow circle and seeing nothing that fit that description, tugged on Ian’s hand and pulled him along with her through the exhibit, following the direction of the arrows painted on the floor.

They finally reached a section representing computer inventions from the 1960s. Lila stopped stock still, pointing toward a picture of a woman standing next to a computer embedded into a kitchen counter. “That’s it,” she said in a hushed voice to Ian.

Feigning intense interest in the kitchen setup, Lila watched the reflections on the glass case while Ian strolled over to examine a nearby exhibit. Together they waited.

Within a few minutes Lila felt someone bump her arm as she leaned in to look at the exhibit. Quickly she looked up, however it was only in time to see the silhouette of a person vanish around the corner. She immediately turned to Ian and motioned toward the route the individual took. Ian nearly ran around the corner following the lead, but soon appeared again. He shook his head in answer to her questioning look.